By Riley Zayas
In a season in which the Texas Longhorns are hoping to earn the soccer program's 15th NCAA Tournament appearance, the 17-match fall schedule that was announced Monday will provide a measuring stick to see if the Longhorns will earn another postseason bid.
The Longhorns will open the 2020 fall slate with an exhibition at Mike A. Myers Field against North Texas, which is the defending Conference USA champion. This will give head coach Angela Kelley an opportunity to play some or all of her nine new freshmen, a group that includes a pair of international players in German national team defender Charlotte Bluemel and New Zealand midfielder Amelia Abbott, and defender Morgan Pace, who was ranked by Top Drawer Soccer IMG Academy Top 150 as the No. 10 player in the Lone Star state for the class of 2020.
The regular season will kick off nearly a week later, when the Horns host Texas-San Antonio Aug. 20 in the first of five consecutive home matches. After taking on Texas State, the program will host a four-team tournament Aug. 27-30 that will include Big 12 foe Baylor, Rice, Texas State and UCF.
Following a Sunday showdown with New Mexico State, the Horns will make their first road trip of the season east, to Baton Rouge, La., for a matchup with LSU just two days before the schools' football teams meet Sept. 12, also in Baton Rouge.
Two mid-major opponents round out the non-conference slate, as a road game with Abilene Christian is succeeded by a home match with Utah Valley.
Big 12 play kicks off four days after that. As they say, there is no rest for the weary. Kansas State will be ready when the Horns host the Wildcats Sept. 24. Texas will play all nine of the other Big 12 teams in conference action, including a notable road match Oct. 9 at Texas Tech, which finished second in the conference in 2019. The regular season will finish Oct. 29 with a road match against the defending Big 12 regular season champs, Oklahoma State.
The Big 12 championship will be held in nearby Round Rock Nov. 1, 6 and 8, at the 10-field Round Rock multipurpose complex. The event will mark the first time it has been played since it was held in San Antonio in 2012.
(photos by Jose Mendez / Horns Illustrated)